Eva Joly has been an investigating magistrate in France for seven years. Her legal career started as an assistant to the public prosecutor in the town of Orleans. After working for a time in the ministry of finance where she handled bankruptcies, Joly rejoined the magistrature, focusing on financial crime. She started investigating high-profile cases such as the state-owned Credit Lyonnais, which had incurred staggering losses of billions of dollars through mismanagement.
Joly is seen as the leader of a new breed of judges who have not been afraid of calling to account crooked businessmen and the French political elite. Her team has questioned more than 100 former or serving members of parliament or mayors, six former or current leaders of political parties, and a quarter of the heads of the 40 biggest companies. The number of convictions is still fairly small but includes big players like Pierre Suard, the former head of Alcatel, plus a former Socialist minister, a former Socialist party leader and two former Gaullist mayors.
Her rise to media notoriety began at 6 a.m. on a June morning in 1994 when she ordered the police to enter the Paris premises of Bernard Tapie, business tycoon and cabinet minister under Francois Mitterand, and drag him for questioning with his hands cuffed. It was the first time ever a former minister of the French Republic had received such treatment (Tapie was eventually sentenced to six months in prison on fraud charges).
During the seven-year case against the Elf Aquitaine oil company Eva Joly investigated the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Constitutional Council (which is the Supreme Court in the country) Roland Dumas for million- dollars abuses. Her team of magistrates has initiated investigations against 30 former ministers and government officials, including the former prime minister of France Alain Juppe.
Eva Joly has initiated the Paris Declaration which puts forward a series of 10 measures to drastically reduce international financial corruption. The Paris Declaration was launched at the Sorbonne on 19th June, 2003. 25 international figures, known for their battle against corruption and violations of human rights, have decided to support the document, among them Antonio Di Pietro, Italian investigative magistrate and MP in the European Parliament and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
In 2002 Ms. Joly was appointed a Special Advisor to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice of Norway.